Wikipedia for Schools
I read an interesting article in NEA Today from August/September 2009. Educators have long questioned the reliability of Wikipedia. The wealth of content can’t be beat, but the problem is…how much of it is reliable? Wikipedia for Schools is a site offering thousands of articles individually checked for accuracy and appropriateness. Topics are selected from many academic categories and made ready for use by students. The result is like having a 20-volume printed encyclopedia that can be browsed online or downloaded for free at this site. It ends up being about 3GB in size, and is ideal for locations with little or no internet access. It is a trade-off, since the number of articles and links is limited in size and scope, but students can’t click off to other sites that may not be safe or appropriate for school. Will it prove to be a valuable trade-off? Time will tell, or Tim will tell you later.
Since that article was published, Wikipedia has done a lot to improve the reliability of its site and postings. I suppose they were responding to all the negative comments from librarians and teachers for a number of years. Maybe now it will be an approved destination for students in most schools. Happy searching!